CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Fiona may not be ready for public appearances, but FOX19 NOW got a sneak peek at the baby hippo after the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden closed Wednesday night.
The practice sessions will help her get ready adapt to her outdoor habitat ahead of her public debut, zoo officials said.
"It's all on Fiona's timeline. We have to slowly acclimate her to crowds, clapping and things you encounter at the zoo. Hopefully in a few weeks her fans will be able to see her," Curator of Mammals Christina Gorsuch said.
Gorsuch said she did a great job in Hippo Cove and didn't seem nervous at all.
"Shes our little diva. We're really proud of her," she said.
The final milestone will be to get the entire family, including mother Bibi and father Henry, together.
Under normal circumstances, she would be with her parents or a larger bloat. Since she was born six weeks premature and was unable to stand to nurse, human caregivers had to step in to take care of her. For now, they are her bloat.
"Introductions to her parents are going well, but we have to take things slowly because of Fiona's size," said Gorsuch. "Bibi and Henry each weigh more than 3,000 pounds, and Fiona is at about 275 today. She's a tough little hippo, but she needs to be able to handle an accidental flick of the head from the adults."
Fiona weighed 29 pounds when she was born on January 24, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for Nile hippos. The normal range is 55-120 pounds.
As of Sunday, she weighed in at a healthy 265 pounds.
Fiona also is exercising to make sure she builds the strength she needs to propel herself to the surface of deep pools, according to the zoo.